SK Telecom, KT and LG Uplus agreed to share 5G infrastructure in rural and remote areas of South Korea as part of a Ministry of Science and ICT initiative to boost access, Yonhap News Agency reported.

The ministry reportedly stated the operators will deploy a network sharing system by the end of the year, with the goal of delivering 5G coverage to 130 remote locations in phases by 2024.

SK Telecom, KT and LG Uplus currently share core fibre infrastructure but not RANs.

South Korea’s government mandated operators collaborate on 5G deployments in 2018, to reduce deployment costs. In 2020, the companies committed to invest KRW25.7 trillion ($23 billion) to upgrade their infrastructure nationwide by 2022, Yonhap News Agency explained.

The operators launched commercial 5G services in April 2019: GSMA Intelligence estimated their combined user base stood at 13.7 million at end-March, just more than a fifth of all mobile connections in the country.

They had deployed a total of 166,250 compatible base stations at end-November 2020, data from Opensignal showed.